A co-worker asked me recently if I had heard of existential therapy. I hadn’t, but having had a constant interest in philosophy, was immediately intrigued. And this is why you are now reading about it here on Tuesday Therapy Notes, the weekly series that examines some of the types of therapy as well as common issues associated with therapy.
Existential therapy is a particular type of therapy. It focuses on the whole of human existence, the big picture if you will. Specifically, it places praise on the achievements and celebrates overall human capabilities, encouraging individuals to take credit for those achievements. It balances this by also acknowledging human limitations.
To a certain extent, I’ve worked on this on my own in journaling. And I talked yesterday about how I was going to try to incorporate existential meditation into my existing mindfulness practice. I think to a certain extent we all do this, but where the lies of mental illness get our big picture off track in a big way, existential meditation or existential therapy can help put the pieces of that big puzzle back together and can help you look at yourself in a different way.
More specifically, the practice of existential therapy focus on four existential givens or constants, which are freedom, as well as the associate responsibility; death; isolation; and meaninglessness. And just looking at that list, I can understand the attraction of existential therapy because I have battled each of those issues at one point or another during my own bouts with depression.
And I know I am not alone in that regard.
So if these battles are ones you fight too, then hopefully this brief post helped. Because it turns out that it might be worth looking into existential therapy to get the big answers to your big picture.
Until next time, be well.